Board Gaming, Strategeries

Thunderstone Focus: Charming

charmingCharming is what happened when we wanted to introduce Cleric healing powers that didn’t just mean disease elimination. Charming also ends up being the most combotastic hero since Patternmage.

Charming Level 1 Is pretty decent. Strength 4 with Magic Attack + 2 for 6 gold. Even before the ability, this makes Charming better than Clever level 1 on a card to card basis. Add to this Repeat Village: Destroy 1 Disease to draw 1 card and you’ve got a solid level 1 hero, even if you’re probably not seeing much Disease in the early game. If you are, Charming is decent enough to stick around to clear out all of them present and root around for a few more. Having this ability able to repeat means that you can more safely gamble with any of the fun cards that give Diseases for Fun And Profit, like Cursed Mace, Cursed Dagger, Debased Wizard, the Profane hero set, and Tincture of Victims. More if you’re looking outside of the Thunderstone Advance setting.

Charming Nano, the level 2, gains a 5th point of Strength, which is a big deal. The crossover from 4 to 5 opens up a nice number of great Weapon options. Magic Attack raises to +3, decent average for a L2 magicky sort. The Disease destruction ability has stuck around, but has moved from the Village to the Dungeon, which is probably where you want it by now. It should certainly see more use now that you’re entering mid-game. Where this card really starts to shine is the new ability. Dungeon: Place one Regular or Level 1 hero from your discard pile into your hand. While every now and again, this whiffs the same way Stablehand or Dark do. Sometimes your discard pile is empty. Most times it is not, and this is SUPREMELY useful for so many reasons. At its worst, it’s adding some attack, which is pretty much always useful. The flexibility here is astounding though. Dig out that Regular to pair with your Longspear or so that your Disowned has a chew toy, or if the monster in question demands the life of a hero. Dig out that Level 1 Hero to pair with your Whetmage (or vice versa). Double dip on the Glamercast you played last round. Get out any hero that provides more draw. That ability, while somewhat restricted, is CRAZY good.

Enhanced Charming Nano picks up 2 VP and +5 Magic Attack for 13 Gold, not that you will have many opportunities to pay it. Strength holding steady at 5. Still curing Diseases, and now the level restriction has been removed from the other ability. Dungeon: Place 1 hero from your discard pile into your hand. HOLY SHIT. This is one of those situations where the combo possibilities could have books written about them. I’m going to limit it to some of the more important ones.

Compare Charming’s ability to some of the other ways you are “looking” for Heroes. Summon Aid draws two cards off the top hoping for the best. Most draws you’re going in blind with fingers crossed. Sometimes you’ll be lucky enough to have a Patternmage helping your draws be a little smarter, but even then, you’re still largely at the mercy of Fate. Charming is frequently looking through more than 1-2 cards, and is looking specifically for what will often be the most populous card type in your deck. The ability to search your whole discard pile for specific power cards? That shit is bananas.

Card memory only applies while in your hand. Translation: If a card leaves play and somehow comes back, it does not remember it was there before, allowing you to re-use the ability. Here’s a true story from a game I played, broken down into a list of steps.

1. Draw cards with Divine Level 4. One of the cards was Reckless Conjure.
2. Play Reckless Conjure, discarding itself, Divine and 2 other cards.
3. Use Enhanced Charming Nano to get Divine back. Even though the Level 4 is unique, he doesn’t remember being in my hand not 15 seconds ago.
4. Draw tons more cards, including Skinshifter and Xenomorph.
5. Discard Divine to Skinshifter.
6. Copy Charming with Xenomorph.
7. Get Divine out of discard pile.
8. DRAW ALL THE CARDS.

When the dust settled, I drew 27 cards. Humorously enough, I couldn’t defeat the monster I wanted most. (It was immune to Clerics).

If you have things that force discards, Charming takes what is supposed to be a cost and turns it into an asset. Learned can pitch himself willy-nilly. Stuff you pitch with Reckless Conjure. Honormain, or Skinshifter might be going into a revolving door. Normally, once someone starts swinging a Greatsword, you won’t see them again for a full deck revolution. Or maybe you can see them immediately. Maybe you even have another Greatsword. The Veilminder sets are terrible because they force themselves to choose between fighting and protecting. Why not both? If you have multiple Charming, you can use one to fetch a hero, then have some effect discard your Charming, and use another Charming to get back the first which can reuse it’s ability. As long as we’re talking about reuse of broken abilities, Debased Wizard is Charming’s BFF. Charming will happily get rid of the Diseases that Debased Wizard generates in exchange for repeated use of one of the single best abilities printed in the game. Mental Scrambler by itself isn’t a terrible spell, and the Dungeon ability not only cycles your deck faster, but provides more options for Charming to pick from.

As solid as this is, this is just the tip of the iceberg when looking at Charming’s flexibility. Pick the hero that fits your need in that moment best. You don’t always need super high attack. In the cases of Ultraterrestrials or Ancient Ones, often those don’t matter as much. Lastly, just by virtue of existence, Charming can change the way you play. You can pick up an amazing hero in an otherwise garbage hand, go to the Village to do some stuff instead of Resting or Preparing, safe in the knowledge that your Charming will be there to capitalize on the guy that showed up at the wrong time.

Charming builds on itself with effectiveness rivaling Glamercast, Tough and Phalanx. Buying heavy into the Charming stack will allow you to chain them into each other, except you can also get other heroes with them, making them exponentially more flexible. Charming is one of the single best uses for Seedbomb in the game. There are many heroes in Thunderstone that are good only in certain situations. Charming is outstanding in pretty much all of them. Pass at your own peril.

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2 thoughts on “Thunderstone Focus: Charming

    1. It’s going to be a bit, I have Numenera heroes and Village cards to finish before I get there (not to mention all the non-Thunderstone stuff) but stick around, I promise we’ll get there. Thanks for reading!

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